Ferocity chapter four th.., p.1
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       FEROCITY Chapter Four through Eight, p.1

          
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FEROCITY Chapter Four through Eight


  CHAPTER FOUR

  Friday night.

  “Come on, Keira-Monster. Answer.” She doesn’t though.

  My car’s a Fahrenheit 2008. It’s a shark, sleek, silver, and made for murder. The doors slide open and I glide in. Dashboard lights up in electric blues and neon greens. It’s like getting inside a Stealth fighter plane. I switch on the ignition and hear her grumble to life, like waking a predator. She’s got the cold air intake (Swagger’s Series 64 Air Charger) and runs around 450 horses under the slick hood.

  “Good to see you again, Jack,” she says, her computerized voice sounding like Rachael Ray.

  “Howdy, Rhonda. You miss me?”

  I haven’t fully programmed her yet. She can hold about fifty gigs of voice commands, various phrases and responses, etc. The pamphlet I got said you could program an entire conversation with her if you wanted. Soon.

  “Of course I missed you, you beast,” she replies. She’s good for the ego.

  You ever been in mad grand love? You crawl into bed and there she is (or he, if you’re a she or a he, I don’t judge) waiting for you. And you lay down and she wraps her arms around you and it’s like she was carved from the universe for the sole purpose of that singular moment. You feel warm and safe and protected, and everything is perfect and clean in the world, and the night is a soft song because you are embraced in beauty. That’s how I feel every time I sit in my Fahrenheit. Every time.

  “What’s our destination?” Rhonda asks.

  “Crossroads Mall.” I give Rhonda the exact address.

  “Thirteen point four miles,” Rhonda says. “Head north on Palatine Avenue, toward North 45th Street. Turn left on Greenwood Avenue North.”

  She lives on the Eastside, so I cruise over the 520 bridge. I love Seattle at night when the rain has poured itself on the black asphalt and everything, even the very ground, is aglow. It means I’m alive and electric in the new millennium. And I am immortal.

  I shift gears and blow by a Miata. Through Bellevue and now taking the exit. This is her old neighborhood, right here. Crossroads Mall.

  #

  I remember the very last time I saw her. It was eight days before her birthday, a Friday night, the last day of February. I parked and walked up the steps to her apartment and she met me at the door after I knocked. She wore a white and blue nightshirt, bare legs, fuzzy white slippers.

  “You look good,” she said, stepping back, admiring my new jacket.

  I turned and extended my arms. I was pleased with the jacket and extremely pleased she approved.

  “Men’s Warehouse,” I told her. “One eighty. Even has two inside pockets. How sweet is that?”

  She laughed and hugged me and I think there was something sad and desperate about that hug. The look in her eyes.

  She was sick that night so we just sat there on her bed talking. Her room was empty except for her mattress and a desk and for some reason, seeing it sparse of objects gave me a sense of anxiety. How many nights did we spend in this room, on her bed? She was moving back into her parents’ house in the morning and I knew I would never come back to this place again.

  “Jack,” she said, us sitting on her bed, her attention on her hands.

  “You need anything?” I asked her. It was cold and rainy that night. I felt her forehead. She felt warm.

  “No, I’m fine,” she said.

  I could hear laughter and music from the living room. Her roommates, two fat oompa loompas named Bill and Hilda, were watching some British show.

  “I could run over to the grocery store, get you some soup or something? No problem. I’d love to.”

  She smiled and shook her head.

  We sat there and talked, and then I kissed her, and something wasn’t right about that kiss. I told myself it was just because she was sick. But now I wonder.

  Did she know then?

  Where is she?

  I drive. Headlights turn the rain to melting brass that splatters off the hood. And then I’m in Redmond, blowing by Marymoor Park, and then I’m swerving through lights. The shark is alive, swimming the gulf-streams of the city, now moving into the suburban area. I’m at her parents’ house.

  I power down the Fahrenheit and sit. Wait. Breathe. Hush.

  Nothing. No lights on, no one’s home.

  “Rhonda?”

  “Yes Jack?”

  “Play Track Forty-Four, from the Keira Monster Playlist.”

  “As you command.”

  Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone begins to play.

  She has a brother named Dale. He’s pretty cool even though he’s only sixteen and a stoner. He’s heavily into video games on the Wii. He’s home. I see the light on in his room.

  I open up my metallic case and bring out my PS-15 night-vision scope. Her house jumps up in front of me in lime and lemon clarity. I place the targeting hairs on Dale’s window, flip a switch to thermal, and see his blurry image walking around his room.

  So by all rights Keira should be living here now.

  I could go up and knock on the door.

  Hey Dale, it’s me, Jack, your sister’s boyfriend, remember? I came over for dinner that night and didn’t say a whole lot and your mom made salmon pasta and some other weird tasting pale stuff? Is Keira here?

  He’d look at me strange and tell me, I thought you two broke up?

  Because I’m beginning to think that she broke up with me but is afraid to tell me.

  “Oh that better not be what’s happening. That would be so crappy!”

  Maybe she lost her phone.

  What to do what to do. I could go out and purchase a big ass stereo, find a Peter Gabriel song, and stand outside of her window blaring a cheesy song. That seems to work for people.

  You ever notice that in the movies, after the two people get together and find bliss, something happens and they break up, or their relationship is put in jeopardy. Then the hero (in this case, me) has to figure out how to win the girl back. Luckily, from what I’ve seen, the hero always gets the girl back. So armed with this information I have hope.

  I’m going to go up and just fucking knock on her door. I mean, why not?

  “Okay.” Deep breath. Open the car door. Good. Hand’s shaking? What the French Toast? Why’s my hand trembling?

  Walking across the street, up the drive, nice little lawn decorations that her mother’s collected. Kind of kitschy but then again her mom’s a kitschy woman. She’s also not bad looking. I mean she’s kind of sexy which means Keira’s going to remain sexy, which is good, unless Keira’s no longer with me and someone else gets to spend the rest of his life with her.

  Unless I find out who and kill him.

  Okay, here I am. At the familiar door. Just knock.

  “Control yourself Jack. Just knock. She’s not home.”

  But what if she is? What if I knock, the door opens and there she is. What would I do? Would I smile, reach out, hug her? Cry? I think I would cry. I think I’d ball like a little baby because I’d be so glad that she’s okay and that I’m seeing her again.

  What would she do?

  Fuck. What if she opens the door, sees me, and then as I’m reaching to give her a hug, tears in my eyes, a smile on my lips, she closes the door.

  Holy crap what if that actually happens?

  I turn and run.

  I power the Fahrenheit up and drive.

  “What’s our destination, Jack?”

  “Fucking hell!”

  “Unable to locate.”

  Seattle’s sky is all bourbon and ice tonight and the drizzle is neon, glowing across the asphalt. Last night I dreamt of her, our love story swirled in calligraphy across the sky. I held her, looked into her bright blue eyes and she said my name.

  #

  I’m on my way to class. It’s Monday morning and I’m running late. Traffic on the 520 is a bitch. I’m currently stuck behind the 545 bus to Redmond and I hate public transportation.

  No, that’s not true.

  Jay Z’s on the speakers, spilling out of my i-pod, making a mess of my speakers, and this is having the opposite effect than I desired. I used to love this song. I used to love all six hundred and sixty-four songs on my i-pod, but they all came from Keira’s computer.

  Two months ago I was in her apartment. She was at her Vaio laptop, looking up some college information, her black hair pulled back in a pony-tail. I came up behind her and rested my chin on her shoulder. She smelled awesome.

  She turned, smiled, reached up and twisted a bit of my hair with her finger.

  “What are you listening to?”

  “Estelle,” she said, turned and looked up at me, smiled. Her lips were gorgeous. She began to sing and move with the song. “American boy.”

  I stepped back and watched her, stunned to dumbness. There in her small rented room sat this girl, her arms in the air, looking at me like I was the only thing in the world.

  “Come and dance with me,” she said, standing up, fingers tugging at the loops of my jeans.

  “I dance like a cartoon character,” I whispered in her ear.

  “You are a cartoon character,” she said. “You’re my monkey. My Jack-Monkey.”

  “Uh.”

  She moved closer, pushing her hips against mine, smiling and leaning forward. Her warmth pulsed and I felt alive, pure fission. Her fingers traced up my spine and I pulled her closer as we turned in her room.

  Afterwards she uploaded a bunch of her music to my i-pod.

  That was two months ago and since then she’s ruined all six hundred and sixty-four songs. I can’t listen to Jay-Z without thinking of her or that night. I can’t listen to Common, Lily Allen, David Bowie, Incubus, Eurythmics, Elton John, Pharrell, Henry Mancini, Outkast, John Legend, Beyonce (which is no real true loss. I don’t even know why she put Beyonce on my i-pod. Or Pharrell, for that matter). The point is she destroyed a huge collection of pretty good music. Thanks a lot ya betch!

  #

  I’ve decided that I’m in a movie. I’m a fairly interesting guy and my life is less than uncomplicated. I just don’t know what the movie would be called. Something witty, understated, yet profound. Something that doesn’t give the premise or plot of the movie away.

  Examples of enigmatic movie titles that are out there: Apocalypse Now, The Breakfast Club, Less than Zero (shitty movie, awesome novel) Mothman Prophecies (what the hell is a mothman?).

  Examples of terrible movie titles: Billy Madison (the movie’s about Billy Madison) Rambo, Donnie Darko (although an awesome movie. I mean, Frank goes back in time before his death, in his homemade bunny suit, to warn Donnie of the future, so Donnie could rewind the future and die in the past! The only thing more confusing than this is the democratic caucus system.)

  Anyway, my movie-

  “Jack?”

  Mrs. Pauletto. She teaches Humanities. She’s looking at me with her scythe thin eyebrows poised in question. She must’ve asked me something.

  “Yes?”

  “Jack, could you please give me three examples of works by Caravaggio?”

  We started the Baroque era.

  “Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is famous for several works, most notably The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, Death of the Virgin, Madonna of the Rosary, David with the Head of Goliath, which is one of my favorites. Class, I’d like you to examine picture 27a on page 145 of your text. This is a prime example of the Baroque style that relied heavily on staged images with dramatic lighting. Notice the angular position of the arms, how it forms a cartwheel, guiding your eyes to the center stage where we see emotions larger than life. Caravaggio was born in 1571-”

  “Okay, that’s excellent, Jack,” Pauletto says. It looks like she’s beaming.

  Pauletto resembles a hippy that never reformed. She keeps her sand gray hair pulled back in a long, course, wirey pony-tail. I could scrub all of the Marriott’s pots and pans with her hair. She’s sweater and sandal happy, usually with a long dress of baffling design.

  Which reminds me, Mother’s Day is coming up. I still got to get something for my mom. She’s a tough one to buy for. I remember last year I got her a tazer and a can of pepper spray, and a year’s worth of passes to this cineplex near her home, and she wasn’t too thrilled about it. I mean, she was more thrilled with me being there. She used to say all the time-

  “Jack!”

  “Yes?” Shit.

  Shit. Class is over. It’s just me and Pauletto and she’s giving me this very Baroque-inspired look.

  I gather my things and leave.

  “Don’t forget,” Pauletto says on my way out, “midterms. You must be to class on time or you’ll receive a zero for the test.”

  “Gotcha my good woman.”

  My last class of the day. Outside it’s bitter cold and windy. It feels more like December than mid-March. Nothing to do the rest of the day. So now what?

  “Hey.”

  Danielle. She’s got a pink cell phone that she’s texting with, but flips it shut when she sees me walk up.

  “Hey.” I pull out a cigarette. “Danielle, right?”

  She smiles and nods. “Yup. Hey, you’re pretty smart in Humanities.”

  “Yeah.” Her hair is dark blond, which is too bad. Blonds aren’t really my style. Still, her hair is about the right length, just touching her shoulders. Her eyes are deep blue, nearly oceanic, and that’s alluring. She gets three points for her eyes then. She has a nice voice, but I don’t really remember her talking much in class, which means she’s not that intelligent, or she’s not that confident.

  “That yours?” she asks. She nods to my Fahrenheit.

  “Yeah,” I reply. “It’s a Fahrenheit 2008, a sniper rifle on wheels. You like it?”

  “I do,” she says. “You don’t look like the type that could afford it though. Parents get it for you?”

  I nod.

  “So what do you think of class so far?” she asks. So she’s either just passing the time or she’s interested in me. I don’t know. Girls mystify me. She’s appraising me though. I catch her eyes flick up and down.

  I shrug. “I don’t really like Pauletto. I just want to get it done and over with. What are you going to school for?”

  “Alchemy.”

  “Alchemy?”

  “Har!” she laughs. “Nah! Just fibbin’. Actually I’m going for business. You know, become, like, conglomerate girl.”

  “Awesome.”

  “Mm-hmm. What about you?” She hasn’t smoked the entire time we’ve been talking, instead, she’s been content to twirl her cigarette around like a sparkler.

  “Education. I’d like to become a teacher.”

  Her eyebrows raise. “Really? I don’t... you don’t really strike me as the teacher type.”

  This surprises me.

  “Yeah. I’d put you more as the... well... artistic type? Maybe, music. I can see you as the... philosophy sort too.”

  “Well that’s no good.” I take this as a good sign. “I am something of an artist though.” I unzip my bag and pull out a sketchbook.

  She peruses through them and nods. “These are good. Really good.”

  She gets another five points for that.

  Keira scored sixty-six on her quiz. That’s how I knew she was practically perfect.

  “So Danielle. Who’re your five favorite rock bands?”

  She smiles with skepticism and then says, “Well... rock bands huh. I’m not really into rock.”

  “That’s not good.”

  “But I’d have to say... Reliant K’s pretty good.”

  Reliant K? I like them, don’t get me wrong, but... no. No.

  “Ben Folds Five.”

  Well fuck. I thought she was sexy but I was wrong.

  “Dandy Warhols and...James Blunt. What?” she says, “what’s that face you’re making? You don’t like James Blunt?”

  “He’s not rock. He’s not rock and roll.”

  “I really don’t like rock and roll,” Danielle says.

  There’s a silence between us. I’m watching her admire my artwork wishing that her answers had been different.

  “Jack, these are... holy shit. Goddamn. I mean, you got talent. Fuckin’ raw talent.”

  Yes. I know who I am. I was hoping she was someone else though. She’s at twenty points.

  “You like the Beatles?”

  She doesn’t answer. Well, she makes a face and keeps her attention on the sketchbook. My hopes sink.

  “You like Pink Floyd?”

  She makes that same face. It’s a face a child would make if they just ate a piece of shit instead of chocolate.

  I take my book away from her and leave.

  #

  “Why didn’t you go out with her?” Victoria asks.

  We’re at Starbuck’s in Fremont, about six blocks from my place. I ordered a Venti drip, one inch of room for cream, four packets of sugar (2.02) while she ordered some elitist extravaganza drink complete with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for six bucks. (!) She’s dressed in dark gray slacks and a black blouse. I’m also wearing severely dark clothes fitting for a Big Game Hunter.

  “Who?”

  “That Danielle girl,” she says. She’s sipping the whipped cream off her drink. “Sounds like she was into you.”

  “Whatever.” I’m not going into specifics. Not with Starbuck’s playing Paul McCartney’s new album. I might have to get it. “She wasn’t my type. Besides, I already have a girlfriend.”

  Victoria smiles and shakes her head.

  “What?”

  “Jack,” she says, “you do not have a girlfriend.”

  This is what she has the nerve to tell me.

  I won’t even reply.

  “Anyway,” she continues, “what is your type?”

  “Dark hair. About shoulder length, although longer is fine. Not too short. Tan skin, or skin that lends itself easily enough to a tan. Beatles fan. Pink Floyd fan. She has to be artistic, passionate yet darkly so. Well read. Her favorite author should be Hemingway, Cormack McCarthy, or Margaret Atwood. She should appreciate the drama and severity of the Baroque era, and the religious power and enlightenment of the High Renaissance artists. She should have a fondness for dark clothing, this way when we go out we look like two awesome killers, infamous villains. Also, her favorite television show should be... what? What are you grinning at?”

 
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